Thomas Becket

Thomas Becket

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Thomas Becket

 

Thomas Becket during his life was a man of both honor and dishonor.  His decisions, principles, and character made certain aspects of his life honorable, and others dishonorable.  However, it is also extremely important to realize who Becket was honoring.  The three most relevant people he would honor during his life was himself, King Henry II, and God.

 

    Many times during his life, Becket acted without honor.  For instance, when King Henry separated the church and state by making his power superior to the church's, Becket became his right-hand by becoming the Chancellor of England.  While Henry's moves were political and economic, Becket decision to join the king was based purely on allegiance and fidelity to the king.  Becket did not consider the consequences of what a split would do nor did he question and challenge the sanctimonious motives of the king.  Becket also showed a great dishonor to both God and the king when he wore both the Chancellor and Archbishop ring.  He could not possibly honor both, since the King's agenda did not coalesce with the will of God.  Thus he had a false honor to both.  Eventually, Becket made a choice to serve the honor of God above the king.

 

    Becket was also a man of great honor.  He showed reverence to his king by being loyal and keeping his word when he had to give up the woman he loved to the king.  At this moment, he also honored himself by showing integrity and principle over emotional values.  While chancellor, he served faithfully by understanding his duty to the king and code of honor.  The one thing that proved Becket to be a man of true honor was when he humbled himself before the cross and God and vowed his loyalty to the one and only true leader.  After this point, Becket no longer acts to serve the king's honor, but God's because he realizes it is more righteous and rewarding.  Through this decision he chose how he would live for the remainder of his life.  He accepted his obligations as Archbishop of Canterbury and understood how he would inevitably be forced to oppose the king.  He sacrificed his own life by defending the kingdom of God and boldly chose to pursue God's will.  This occurs when he repudiates the king's order to renege on his excommunication decision.

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  This eventually would lead to Becket's death.

 

    Even though Becket was both honorable and dishonorable in different ways, he at the conclusion of his life became a man of true honor by serving God over a human king.  He showed principle and character, risking even his life when he stood up for what he believed in.  Since he believed in serving God and in protecting the church, his cause became eminently significant.  Thus, because he chose to take on the burden of opposing the king by making God his prerogative, Becket became a man of great honor.
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